As I look back, year 2014 was indeed a wonderful year with lots of fun and adventures and a very steep learning curve. I feel very happy about the fact that this year was less about buying new gear(even though its always exciting and fun) and a lot about travel and learning. Well, when your camera bags are full, you hit the road and be there as long as you can. By the way mon ami, I did add a Mamiya RZ67 medium format to my gear which I am still confused about till date. Taming this beast is a target for the Year 2015. Hopefully, “2015 – The Best Of Me” will have a few shots from the Mamiya as well! So here’s a glimpse of my personal favorites from the Year 2014.
Wish you all a happy and prosperous new year and may all your dreams come true. Have a great year ahead.
I made numerous trips to Yosemite this year, with my wife, friends and even solo at times. I made sure to drop by the tunnel view every time I passed by, hoping to catch some magic in the air. While most of the trips were rather disappointments, but two of them actually made up for all the losses. I have been chasing the dream of catching mist in the valley for last 2 years and voilà! this one did come true finally.
It doesn’t matter if you live in California or not, a trip to the great eastern sierra is inevitable. This year, I and my wife hopped on a road trip to the California’s eastern sierras and the beauty of it swept us off our feet. Even though my wife was not keeping well, we knew we had to do this and so we did. Not to forget the accident on US-395 that left us stranded on the road for 3 hours in the middle of the night.
This one trip is every photographer’s dream, visiting the Racetrack Playa. And my story is no different. I have been thinking of visiting the playa for 4 years now and finally it happened. Even though I was not keeping well, with 101 fever, I decided to go ahead for I knew it was now or never. The reason being the journey is too uncomfortable for any of your family members to tag along. So it had to be a solo trip. Well, thank God I returned alive. On the other note, I always used to wonder why NPS never built a concrete road. While I heard some rumors that they don’t want everybody to visit this place, but only a few ones who really really want to see it. And I finally got to see the reason. As we started inspecting the playa for the rocks, we found huge tire tracks made by Jeeps/SUVs etc. Another good example of human exploitation and proves how uncommon common sense is .. it’s actually a rare commodity these days. Finally we found the spot we were looking for. I shot to the content of my heart, did the milky way arch over the Playa, star trails, sunset etc.. finally one more item checked in the bucket list.
A spectacular display of sunflowers by California. Neither the drought nor the heat could stop these sunflowers from blooming. This image is from an after work get/run away trip with my wife. Done in haste, not a total waste after all.
The American Northwest has some of the best tulip gardens in the world. What makes it even more special is the weather that creates different mood and this one is stolen from a storm.
We started this interesting trip on Sunday evening 9pm. The plan was to cover Oregon and Washington. Optimistic about the trip, with high hopes and low temperature, we started the journey at sharp 9 pm on Sunday night. One hour past 9 and voila! still at Fremont, CA trying to figure out why the GPS won’t work. Luckily a friend was nearby and offered me to borrow his GPS. Driving almost non-stop, reached crater lake at 5 am on Monday morning. The east rim drive was closed and so was the west rim drive. With lot of difficulty, driving over thick ice we managed to reach this place. It was too dark outside and there were no tire tracks except ours. Unable to find a spot to park the car, we decided to go back to the park entrance and come back later after an hour. We came back to this spot after 45 mins and still there was no one else. This time I could see those thick black clouds high up in the sky and it was a matter of minutes before they would turn red. It did start well but the thick clouds near the horizon won’t make way for the rays to penetrate high up in the clouds. I was expecting a total red sky and so carried only 14-24 lens with me and decided to leave the rest in the car. This is the reason why I couldn’t zoom into the burning sky. This version is from an hour past sunrise.
Year 2014 was full of experimental night shots and shooting the Milky Way was on the priority list. I shot the Milky Way arch over Yosemite Half Dome as well as in Race Track Playa besides from various other locations. There’s a lot to learn about the techniques and I guess the learning will continue in 2015 as well.
And my crazy chase for moon rise will continue for a few more years until I have done it all.
Oregon has some of the best wildflower fields in the world and I had the opportunity to visit them this year. Though the time was short, I managed to get a few decent shots and have good idea now plan for the year 2015.
This year I barely spent time in shooting the city of San Francisco. It was only when my parents paid me a visit, I decided to shoot the city while being a tourist. Double role!
I couldn’t ignore this shot from the marsh land very close to my home. I still remember, this mid air sunburst just made my day. Merging the 5 exposures was one hell of a job… uffff!
Catching sunrises was a lot of fun this year. It was more rewarding than most of the planned sunsets. Oh, not to forget, I had an unwilling companion called ‘My Dad’.
A family trip to Santa Cruz turned the tables and we witnessed one of the best sunsets at the Natural Bridges, a location that I have been hovering over for more than a year. One more item off the bucket list.
Driving south on CA1, you can’t turn a blind eye to this rock or you might crash. For the photographers, this is probably the main attraction at Morro Bay, California.
How can one not include the famous Calla Lilies from Big Sur in the list of favorites? This place is another paradise for bay area photographers, but lately it’s been over crowded. So hurry up and hold your spot!
This is another spot where I have been preying for a long time for the right light. Finally, the wait is over and this dream did come true.
Finally, I would like to close the list with a few panorama shots from San Francisco. Hope the year long running around was worth the pain. Hope I was able to capture and reproduce the beauty of California and do justice to its beauty.